Photo: Thomas Nilsen

It’s a law - Russian Arctic shipping to be regulated by Rosatom

President Putin signs the bill that makes the country’s state nuclear power company top regulator of the Northern Sea Route.
January 02, 2019

Rosatom has officially been granted the leading role in the development of the vast Russian Arctic. The company that employs more than 250,000 people and engages in a multitude of activities related to nuclear power development and production is now formally Russia’s management authority for the Northern Sea Route.

The law was adopted by the State Duma on the 11th December and on the 28th signed by Vladimir Putin.

The new legislation comes as Russian Arctic shipping is on rapid increase. In 2018, about 18 million tons of goods was transported on the sea route, an increase of almost 70 percent from 2017. And more is to come. According to Vladimir Putin so-called May Decrees, the top national priorities, shipping on the Northern Sea Route is to reach 80 million tons already by year 2024.

Rosatom’s new powers in the Arctic include development and operational responsibilities for shipping, as well as infrastructure and sea ports along the northern Russian coast.

The responsibilities of the Northern Sea Route Administration, that until now has operated under the Ministry of Transport, will now be transferred to Rosatom.

It was Putin himself who in early 2017 made clear that a coordinating government agency for the Northern Sea Route was needed. A battle between Rosatom and the Ministry of Transport followed. In December 2017, it became clear that the nuclear power company had won that fight.

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A central person in the new structure will be Vyacheslav Ruksha, the former leader of nuclear icebreaker base Atomflot.

 

Vyasheslav Ruksha is new Director of the Northern Sea Route Directorate. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

The nuclear power company has since 2008 operated the fleet of nuclear-power icebreakers. Currently, five icebreakers are based in Atomflot, Murmansk, and several more ships are under construction, including four powerful LK-60 vessels.

Rosatom is also in the planning process of the «Lider», the 120 MW capacity super-powerful ship that can break through two meter thick ice at an unprecedented 10-12 knot speed.

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